Sunday, June 6, 2010

Moving Forward

Some of you may know that I work as a youth pastor.

I know, right?

Luckily, I work at a very forgiving church. (I'm pretty liberal.)

Anyway, today is senior recognition Sunday - the day when the graduating seniors are, um, recognized.  The whole to-do falls on my shoulders.

Okay, so, honestly?  Being a youth pastor - at times - is pretty weak.  You've got apathetic kids, over-scheduled parents (and, again, kids), a senior pastor to deal with, and - at least in the great Pacific Northwest - a community that considers your entire presence a bit sketchy.

The good stuff is pretty great; like having a job where I can go out play Ultimate Frisbee and call it work; a job where an Xbox 360 is a necessary tool; a job where I am asked to be a part of the entire spectrum of highs and lows in a teen's life.  And, of course, that moment when a teenage boy tries to pull a practical joke on you in the middle of the night and you are like, "Um, seriously?"  And he's all, "Haha!"  But then I'm like, "Dude. I had you before you even got off the bus this weekend."


Last night, I started a book by Christopher Moore called A DIRTY JOB.  The first chapter is a killer.  The next few chapters kept me up much later than I was planning, especially with the alarm set for 6:00 a.m.

This morning, as I was riding my bike to the church, I kept thinking: "You know, fiction (writing in general) is the exact same way... it shows us the highs, the lows, and the truly great ones even give meaning to the in-betweens."

Okay, I didn't REALLY think all that.  Call it a paraphrase.


I've always loved books because they allowed me to transcend, to be voyeuristic, to move forward.  In a lot of ways, reading/writing is the cheapest (if not hardest...) form of therapy.  And now, as I begin (again) the genesis of a new book, I'm struck by how scary it can be moving forward.  Everything is so unknown, right?  You could write 300 pages and learn - damn it! - you're just a hack.  You could realize that you've only got one story to tell and - damn it! - nobody wants to represent it.  Or you could realize that - damn it! - you'd much rather watch a movie instead of doing anything related to writing.

But - in a non-religious sense - I think you have to believe, to have hope, to even find joy in the process of moving forward.  Because if you don't?  Well, you'll be the literary equivalent of the dude who shows up at high school parties wearing his letterman's jacket from 1995.

And nobody wants that.


  1. I agree that moving forward has to happen, and that you have to have a belief that you can do it, and maybe even have to suspend reality for a while. You know, fake it until you make it sort of thing. Go big or go home. How many more pieces of generic advice can I throw into one comment box? Alarms are ringing somewhere...

  2. I usually feel pretty optimistic before I start a new writing project. I guess because I haven't yet realized all the many ways it's going to suck.

    So I think you may have already told me about the new story because I have a vague recollection of being pretty impressed. Shoot me an email if you get the time.

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